Custom-made BYOB bar ready to roll

A rusty horse trailer transformed into a sleek white mobile bar is completely refurbished and ready for event bookings or Facebook-worthy photos that could have brides-to-be swooning.

It’s been a work in progress for Kennewick sisters Amanda Hickman and Josie Michel who got the idea from a friend who intended to start his own business using a horse trailer.

“A friend of mine in Wyoming texted me a picture of a mobile bar and said, ‘I think this is going to be my next journey.’ And I thought, ‘That’s really cool,’ and my sister and I started looking into it and found they’re all over Pinterest and Instagram, but there’s nothing like that in the Tri-Cities,” Hickman said.

The sisters spent about $1,500 on a 1979 stock trailer and invested $15,000 to $20,000 to make it ready for their new business, Patty Wagon Touring Taps, which launched in May.

“It was pretty rusty but the foundation was solid,” Hickman said.

Sisters Amanda Hickman and Josie Michel converted a 40-year-old stock trailer into a mobile bar.

For a $600 fee, the Patty Wagon can be brought to an event for four hours to be used primarily for serving beverages, but also could be used to host desserts or other foods in an appealing display.

Customers buy their own alcohol to serve, though the sisters can be hired as licensed bartenders for an additional $50 an hour.

“That way, we don’t have to have a liquor license. It takes that liability off us, though we do carry liquor liability insurance,” Hickman said.

The trailer also includes multiple taps that could be used for beer, soda or even kombucha.

At public events, Patty Wagon Taps is equipped to pour drinks from bottles or cans into glasses, but at private events, it has the ability to serve up mixed drinks.

The sister entrepreneurs expect most bookings will be for outdoor venues, but the trailer is small enough to fit inside an event center as well.

“A lot of places don’t have a bar already. A bride might want the trailer to go with her vision for her wedding,” Hickman said. “The venues aren’t going to seek us out. But on private property, most people don’t have a bar, so it would be beneficial for them if we came in and set it up.”

Having just launched at the prime wedding season when most events are already fully planned, the women are starting to receive bookings in town, and even out of state, but much of their summer schedule is still open.

“We’ve had a lot of inquiries, but we realize it’s probably going to be mostly a wedding thing, that would be our bread and butter. And brides don’t plan those a month in advance. So we’re hoping we get next year booked up,” Hickman said.

The wagon is booked for the Benton-Franklin Fair and Rodeo where it will be part of the Hometown Makers Market and its Sip and Stroll event.

The business is named after the sisters’ grandmother, Patty, who recently celebrated her 90th birthday.

“We asked, ‘What do you want for your birthday party?’ And she said, ‘I want a kegger.’ She’s a lovely lady from the greatest generation. She is always down for a good time and just provided that space where people wanted to go celebrate. We would love to have people want to have us because we provide the atmosphere for a good time, like she always did.”

» Patty Wagon Taps: Facebook;

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